Singapore has said it is happy to share its development experience with the Caribbean Community, as the country’s second Ambassador to CARICOM was accredited Wednesday.
Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque accepted the Letters of Credence of Her Excellency Karen Tan, Plenipotentiary Representative of Singapore to CARICOM, at the Secretariat’s Headquarters in Georgetown Guyana.
Ambassador Tan said her appointment represented Singapore’s commitment to “continue to work to sustain and deepen” its engagement with the Region, and to find new avenues for cooperation.
To date, the new envoy revealed, 1060 officials from CARICOM have participated in various programmes including public administration, urban planning, finance, information technology and civil aviation in Singapore.
She said cooperation in Disaster Risk Management or Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is also available. This offer was announced in 2017 by Singapore’s Foreign Minister, His Excellency Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, when he met the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) during its 10th Special Meeting on the side-lines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.
Singapore is also working with partners in Latin America such as Chile and Argentina to offer Third Country Training Programmes for CARICOM; opportunities Ambassador Tan said she hopes officials will maximise.
Ambassador Tan noted that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can be a useful partner for CARICOM in the areas of trade, investment promotion and sustainable development, with Singapore serving as Chair for this year.
CARICOM welcomed the opportunity to work together with ASEAN in areas of shared interest, Secretary-General LaRocque stated, noting Singapore’s current Chairmanship and its focus on the concepts of resilience and innovation.
He said CARICOM has recognised, and he has personally witnessed, the significant advancements Singapore has made in infrastructural, environmental, social and sustainable development and in ICT. The Community therefore welcomed the opportunity to partner more closely with Singapore in that area, he said.
The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for Singapore’s offer to support the Community’s vision to become the first climate resilient region in the world. He also commended the country for designating 2018 as the “Year of Climate Action,” to raise national consciousness around the need to take individual and collective action to fight climate change for a sustainable Singapore. He said CARICOM was looking forward to their engagements leading up to the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24).
Ambassador Tan underscored the significance of small island states, like Singapore and many of CARICOM, working together to ensure that the systems of global governance continue to hear and note of their voices.
She described as a “privilege”, working with “distinguished diplomats” from CARICOM Member States throughout her diplomatic career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, including as Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Singapore and CARICOM have worked in unison, she said, to advance their common interests and to overcome challenges in international fora like the United Nations and in groupings such as the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Commonwealth of Nations. In 2015, she co-chaired the Preparatory Committee of the 3rd Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference in Samoa which allowed SIDS to promote key aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Singapore’s ties with the Region date back to 1971 when it established diplomatic relations with Trinidad and Tobago.